From the moment we first visited Morimoto Dubai back in May 2018 we were enamoured. Celebrity Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s 16th global restaurant has gathered a loyal following and positive critical reception perched high up in the Renaissance Downtown Hotel Dubai.
Even on repeat visits the stature and expanse of the venue continues to impress. Split over two levels and with room for approximately 250 diners, Morimoto’s contemporary interiors pay homage to Japanese traditions via bulbous paper lanterns emblazoned with the Morimoto logo and a large Bonsai tree that traverses the restaurants upper and lower levels.
Morimoto’s brunch is like a dot-to-dot of the very best that the restaurant has to offer. Kicking off in the 24th floor bar area where welcome drinks are offered in the form of zodiac-inspired cocktails which had so impressed us during our initial visit. The expertly crafted beverages accompanied by canapés (the beef with mashed potato is of particular note) and striking views of the rapidly developing Dubai Water Canal, dotted with ferry boats and bridges, make for a vantage point that is hard to beat and represents the definition of sky high dining!
At our own leisure we descend the stairway to the 23rd floor passing beneath elaborate light fittings taking on the appearance of undulating Nomura jellyfish, before arriving in the dining room where brunch truly begins. Chef Morimoto’s food is renowned for fusing Japanese food with a Western slant and brunch is a mixture of buffet and a la carte dishes, with each side of the room dedicated to either hot or cold live-stations.
During our previous visit one of the things that resonated with us was the undeniable quality of the ingredients, especially the sushi. Brunch is no different and it’s pleasing to see a wide selection of oysters, maki rolls, nigri and sashimi all impeccably displayed and delivering on flavour. The intention of any brunch should be to showcase the food and encourage diners to return. Morimoto succeeds at this admirably, tantalizing diners with an expectation of what the full dinner service offers.
The hot buffet provides an abundance of options, with satay, tempura and tacos all vying for attention. We’d encourage you not to skip Morimoto’s signature tuna pizza, nor the Ramen which is prepared live and is fully customizable (we suggest asking the chef to ramp up the spice level and add in a gyoza, that’s what we did anyway)! Our personal favourite had to be be the sticky ribs, slathered in an undeniably sweet glaze of which we indulged in perhaps more than we’d like to admit!
Main courses are ordered from a succinct menu and three options are available. The Grilled Steak with a sweet onion jus is served at our requested medium-rare and melts in the mouth and while the Angry Chicken is wonderfully succulent we didn’t find the spice level quite delivered on the expectation. Black Cod may have become a common staple of Asian restaurants in the region, but when the dish is as good as the version at Morimoto you don’t mind and it’s evidently a crowd-pleaser with its enticing ginger and soy reduction.
Morimoto’s brunch is a lively affair and things really ramp up as the afternoon progresses. One of our few negatives would actually be the choice of music which does not befit a venue of such caliber. We may appreciate Whitney Houston’s 1986 hit “I wanna dance with somebody” as much as the next person, but at a high-end Japanese brunch the result is a jarring one that fails to match the ambiance of the restaurant space.
We’re relieved to escape onto the terrace for the final course and Morimoto’s rooftop is easily one of the most memorable in the city thanks to its unobstructed views towards the Burj Khalifa. Almost as impressive as the world’s tallest building is the chef’s selection dessert platter laden with dragon fruit, lychees and cheesecake (amongst a few other surprises).
Having had to decline the opportunity of dinner with Chef Morimoto himself late last year (an event we are still mourning), the brunch helps to make amends for our own personal loss. The old adage of “go big or go home” certainly comes into play as Morimoto Dubai throws down the gauntlet as one of the more exciting brunches to launch this season. Part buffet, part al la carte and fully committed to creating a memorable party, Morimoto’s brunch experience is entirely different to our intimate dinner at the teppanyaki table a few months earlier and shows just how capable the restaurant is of adapting and surprising guests, time and again.
Location: Renaissance Downtown Hotel Dubai, Marasi Drive, Dubai
Social: Instagram / Facebook
Hours: Morimoto brunch Fridays from 12:30pm – 4pm
Phone: +971 4 512 5577 Price:AED 350 (soft drinks & tea) / AED 499 (house beverages) / AED 650 (Champagne)
Out & About UAE were guests of Morimoto Dubai. All views are our own and photographs are © Out & About UAE.